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“The Love that made Him to suffer passeth so far all His Pains as Heaven is above Earth”
THEN said our good Lord Jesus Christ: Art thou well pleased that I suffered for thee? I said: Yea, good Lord, I thank Thee; Yea, good Lord, blessed mayst Thou be. 46 Then said Jesus, our kind Lord: If thou art pleased, I am pleased: it is a joy, a bliss, an endless satisfying to me that ever suffered I Passion for thee; and if I might suffer more, I would suffer more.
In this feeling my understanding was lifted up into Heaven, and there I saw three heavens: of which sight I marvelled greatly. And though I see three heavens—and all in the blessed manhood of Christ—none is more, none is less, none is higher, none is lower, but [they are] even-like in bliss.
For the First Heaven, Christ shewed me His Father; in no bodily likeness, but in His property and in His working. That is to say, I saw in Christ that the Father is. The working of the Father is this, that He giveth meed to His Son Jesus Christ. This gift and this meed is so blissful to Jesus that His Father might have given Him no meed that might have pleased Him better. The first heaven, that is the pleasing of the Father, shewed to me as one heaven; and it was full blissful: for He is full pleased with all the deeds that Jesus hath done about our salvation. Wherefore we be not only His by His buying, but also by the courteous gift of His Father we be His bliss, we be His meed, we be His worship, we be His crown. (And this was a singular marvel and a full delectable beholding, that we be His crown!) This that I say is so great bliss to Jesus that He setteth at nought all His travail, and His hard Passion, and His cruel and shameful death.
And in these words: If that I might suffer more, I would suffer more,—I saw in truth that as often as He might die, so often He would, and love should never let Him have rest till He had done it. And I beheld with great diligence 47 for to learn how often He would die if He might. And verily the number passed mine understanding and my wits so far that my reason might not, nor could, comprehend it. And when He had thus oft died, or should, yet He would set it at nought, for love: for all seemeth7878"ffor al thynketh him but litil in reward of His love" [in comparison with]. Him but little in regard of His love.
For though the sweet manhood of Christ might suffer but once, the goodness in Him may never cease of proffer: every day He is ready to the same, if it might be. For if He said He would for my love make new Heavens and new Earth, it were but little in comparison;7979 MS. "Reward." for this might be done every day if He would, without any travail. But to die for my love so often that the number passeth creature’s reason, it is the highest proffer that our Lord God might make to man’s soul, as to my sight. Then meaneth He thus: How should it not be that I should not do for thy love all that I might of deeds which grieve me not, sith I would, for thy love, die so often, having no regard 8080 MS. "Reward." to my hard pains?
And here saw I, for the Second8181 See xxi., xxiii. Beholding in this blessed Passion the love that made Him to suffer passeth as far all His pains as Heaven is above Earth. For the pains was a noble, worshipful deed done in a time by the working of love: but8282 MS. "and," probably here, as in other places, with something of the force of "but." Love was without beginning, is, and shall be without ending. For which love He said full sweetly these words: If I might suffer more, I would suffer more. He said not, If it were needful 48 to suffer more: for though it were not needful, if He might suffer more, He would.
This deed, and this work about our salvation, was ordained as well as God might ordain it. And here I saw a Full Bliss in Christ: for His bliss should not have been full, if it might any better have been done.
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